What a High School Student Should Wear to a Job Interview

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated October 28, 2021 | Published August 25, 2020

Updated October 28, 2021

Published August 25, 2020

Related: Business Formal vs. Business Casual: What to Wear to an Interview

How do you dress for an interview? And how does business casual look different than business formal? Get answers to these questions and more tips on business attire.

High school students may look for a part-time or seasonal position to help earn additional income in addition to getting exposure to the workplace. Some jobs that are available to high school students include positions in the service industry, such as restaurants or retail stores. High school students can also be babysitters, dogsitters or work for a volunteer organization. Nevertheless, if you're interviewing for one of these positions, be sure to dress appropriately for the occasion.

In this article, we outline the importance of high school students wearing the right outfit for a job interview as well as noting what you can and cannot wear.

Why is wearing the right outfit to a job interview important?

Wearing the right outfit for an interview shows that you're prepared for the interview and highlights a level of maturity that's suitable for the position. A polished look for an interview also implies responsibility and a willingness to work.

Related: How to Dress for a Job Interview

What to wear to a job interview

Teenagers have plenty of options to select for interview attire, including:

Button-down shirt with dark slacks or khakis

Interviewing for a position tailored to high school students often doesn't require you to wear a suit. A button-down with a simple design paired with khaki pants can show you are organized and neat. This outfit can give the interviewer the perception that you thoughtfully prepared for your interview.

Polo shirt with skirt or slacks

Be mindful of the season when you're interviewing. Some positions for high school students may be seasonal jobs, so be ready to dress for warm or cold weather depending on your geographical location and time of year. For summer, a polo shirt with a skirt or slacks suffices for most seasonal jobs. Since a polo shirt is more casual, ensure that you're wearing a stylish skirt or slacks and that your polo shirt is tucked in to demonstrate professionalism during the interview.

Button-down shirt with a sweater and khakis

If your interview requires a more elevated style, a button-down shirt and sweater combined with khakis is a good option. It's a step up from a polo, but it's not as dressy as a suit and a tie. You can keep a few combinations of sweaters and button-downs in your wardrobe to be prepared for multiple social events.

Polo shirt with dark slacks and khakis

The key to wearing dark slacks and khakis is to match the color of the slacks to the belt and shoes you're wearing for the interview. A mismatch of color between these items is more difficult to pull together for a neat appearance. Brown loafers, dress shoes and a belt pair well with dark khakis and the polo you choose to wear.

Button-down shirt and a cardigan with dress pants

You can also opt for a button-down with an additional accessory to have your outfit stand out, like a cardigan. These items pair well with navy blue pants, khaki pants or a skirt.

Dress shirt and dark jeans

A dress shirt is an ideal outfit for a job interview if you're a high school student. Depending on the type of employer, you may be able to wear dark jeans that complement the color and style of the dress shirt. Denim should be pressed and free of any holes or rips, and ensure there are no stains on your dress shirt before your interview. Always make sure to iron your shirt and tuck it in before speaking with the interviewer.

Choose your tie wisely

Depending on the position and work environment you're seeking, it might not hurt to wear a tie to your interview. Overdressing is usually not frowned upon in a professional setting, and it can show your desire and assertiveness for the role you're interviewing for. A solid button-down with a striped tie can give off the perception of professional attire, but you can also go with a plaid shirt and solid tie for a more casual workplace. This may require some research of the company before you proceed in wearing a tie to your next job interview. Rolling up your sleeves can be another consideration for you to look more casual.

Related: How to Appear Confident in an Interview

Related: Interview Stage: Arriving On-Site

In this video, Jenn, an Indeed Career Coach, provides a comprehensive look at the interviewing process and shares tips on how to position yourself for success when arriving on-site for an interview.

What not to wear to a job interview

Avoid these choices for your job interview wardrobe:

Open-toed shoes

Sneakers and sandals are not a good choice for a job interview. Even if the job is outdoors or doesn't require business casual attire, you still can look presentable during an interview with the hiring manager. As previously mentioned, loafers or brown dress shoes are a great match with nice pants or a skirt.

Shorts or low-cut shirts

When attending an interview, make sure your clothes fit properly so they are not too revealing. T-shirts, tank tops and crop tops are not the best options. If your goal is to demonstrate your professionalism, stick to business casual attire for your interviews.

Hats or athletic-style attire

Baseball caps or other hats and athletic-style clothing items are too casual for most interviews. Polos and button-downs are applicable attire for interviews as long as they're not too loose or tight.

Hooded sweatshirts and jackets

Avoid bringing or wearing all hooded sweatshirts and jackets when going to an interview. Wearing a hood gives notice to an employer that you may not want to be visible in public or are uninterested in working for the company. If it's cold outside, wear a clean, professional jacket or coat with no visible logos. You want to make every possible effort to leave a good impression with the interviewer, and that includes when you are arriving and leaving.

Too much makeup, cologne or perfume

You'll want to keep makeup, cologne and perfume to a minimum when interviewing for a position. Smells from fragrances or the appearance of too much makeup can be distracting to an interviewer. Instead, your goal should be to have a neat and clean appearance so the interviewer can focus on your qualifications.

Mismatched or bright colors

Even with the right attire, colors like neon may look unprofessional and distracting. Also, be sure not to mix colors that don't align with business casual attire. Neutral colors consist of navy, white, blue, black and brown for interviews, and most of these colors for slacks or skirts can pair well with other colors if that's your preference for a button-down or polo shirt.

Tips to consider when dressing for a job interview

When preparing your wardrobe for your job interview, consider these additional guidelines:

Research the company's dress code

Some companies publish their dress code on their website, so review their website for a policy or photos of employees, and adhere to that dress code if called in for an interview.

Avoid revealing clothing

Ideally, the more conservative you dress, the better. A button-down and slacks is considered conservative attire for the interview.

Choose clothes you're confident in

Select professional attire out of your wardrobe that shows your confidence while being comfortable at the same time. Not having to worry about whether you can walk in your new shoes or if a new shirt fits you properly can help you focus on reflecting your experience and demonstrating your core values instead.

Related: Interview Stage: Walk-through and Small talk

In this video, Jenn, an Indeed Career Coach, provides a comprehensive look at the interviewing process and shares tips on how to position yourself for success during the walk-through and small talk stage of an interview.

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